Friday, 12 April 2019


THE family of a man allegedly killed by police has sued the law enforcement agency for refusing to grant consent for a hospital post-mortem to obtain information on the cause of death.

Rights lawyer Obey Shava has alleged police are delaying authorising the procedure in a bid to cover up a suspected murder by the police. Shava, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, is representing Christopher Mashereni in an urgent chamber application for a mandamus order granting authority for an independent forensic pathologist to urgently carry out a post-mortem on the remains of his son Witness Mashereni.

Mashereni had listed the clinical director at Chitungwiza Central Hospital and Parirenyatwa Hospital, commissioner-general of police Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema and Health minister Obadiah Moyo as respondents.

"The failure or delay by the police to give their authority or concurrence for an independent pathologist to carry out a post mortem as sought is unreasonable and possibly intended to buy more time in a bid to compromise a post mortem," Shava said.

"This view is not far-fetched given that the family of the deceased is concerned that the police could have been involved in their son's death. The police have every reason to seek cover up of the death if indeed they caused it as alleged.

"The family of the deceased needs the earliest opportunity to bury the deceased and move on with their lives. Whilst the deceased remains in the mortuary, the family cannot do anything meaningful except wait and wasted costs are being incurred awaiting burial."

 A founding affidavit by the deceased's father shows how the police - who arrested and allegedly brutally assaulted his son - professed ignorance about his whereabouts. The father only got to know from a neighbour who had been released from Harare Remand Prison about his son's whereabouts.

"My son went missing on February 14, after he left home going to watch soccer with friends but never came back. I went to make enquiries with my other son Nicholas at Chitungwiza Police Station on February 18, 19, 20 and on March 10 but police officers professed ignorance," Mashereni said.

On March 11, Mashereni heard from a neighbour who had been released from Harare Remand Prison about his missing son's whereabouts.   "He said our son had been arrested and charged with trespassing by the same Chitungwiza Police Station on February 14 and remanded into custody on February 16."

Mashereni visited his son in remand prison and found him badly beaten that he could hardly talk or eat, and said he confirmed that he had been tortured by police. The son was released into the custody of his wife's sister-in-law Nancy Nifamitambo on the basis of his deteriorating health, but died on March 20.

The body was taken to Chitungwiza Central Hospital by police but a post-mortem has not been conducted. Police have allegedly refused to issue a Notice of Death.

Mashereni was repeatedly told that Cuban doctors who could perform the procedure were busy, unavailable or tired because they had been engaged with Cyclone Idai cases. Daily News


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